No progress in Pasco talks; union looks at legal options
The United School Employees of Pasco and the school district administration headed back to the bargaining table this week but got little done - especially in the key economic areas that brought hundreds of employees out Tuesday to picket the School Board's budget.
District representatives offered a letter indicating their commitment to providing fully paid employee benefits, but that's about it. They didn't want to pursue the union's request to talk about how to fairly implement new state-mandated elementary physical education requirements.
"Our folks are getting pretty discouraged," USEP president Lynne Webb (shown above speaking at a recent board meeting) told the Gradebook.
Enough to start considering other avenues to get some satisfaction.
Webb suggested that the employees get the feeling that superintendent Heather Fiorentino and the School Board never intended to negotiate salaries, and that they went into contract talks - and budgeting - fully intending to freeze pay. That includes annual step increases, which were put into last year's contract and seem to be a legal obligation.
No one ever publicly proposed building a budget with the steps, or raises, in it to see how they might be paid.
"We are looking at all the legal options that are out there," Webb said.